I usually consider myself a bubbly extrovert, but on Saturday morning it was a different story.
I anxiously strapped on my gear, including running tights under cycling shorts, running arm warmers with my cycling jersey, fingerless riding gloves, and of course, Chicago marathon jacket and Marc Jacobs sunglasses. I was fully aware that I still looked like a complete newbie/idiot, poorly equipped with the appropriate cycling gear, but it was what it was.
I arrived to the group ride and quickly noticed that my coach’s group of athletes (all of whom I’ve never met or even talked to) were fairly, how do you say, experienced. Their Ironman gear was a dead giveaway and immediately kicked my “oh crap” spidey-senses in full gear. What was I doing here?!
My coach soon found me and gave me a few group cycling pointers. He also introduced me to another woman who was riding easy that day and could take me under her wing. After I nervously jabbered on for a few moments and explained how this was my first big ride, she asked me what I was training for. This was the first time thus far that I can honestly say I was embarrassed to boast that goal that I’m normally so proud of.
“Oh, Ironman,” I muttered.
“Really? What one?” she curiously asked.
“Oh, well you have time,” she assured me.
I don’t know what took over me. Here I was, obviously talking to a very experienced triathlete and I was regretting the words that came out of my mouth. What was happening to me? She was being totally nice, but there I was being gut-wrenching embarrassed. I’m NEVER one to be ashamed of my decisions! But there was nothing more that I could do other than say, “Well, let me know if you see me do something that’s bad because I really don’t feel like dying today.”
Within moments, the group was off for a 40+ mile ride through Calaveras Road in Sunol, California. At that moment, I was faced with two decisions: keep whining like a babbling baby, or man up, clip in and just ride already. It’s safe to say that I chose the latter and through the ride, something crazy happened…
I loved cycling.
I stayed in the back of the pack, just getting use to the bike and the road, and I really do need cycling glasses and gloves that cover my fingers (they almost went numb), but I couldn’t help but to have a ridiculous smile smeared across my face.
I didn’t take any photos along the way (bad blogger!), but here’s one I found off the ride. You can see a version of the route here.
You see, I love running because of the places it can take you using your own body. But cycling is just that, but with the ability to explore even more! It doesn’t hurt that Calaveras Road was stunning with some good climbing in the middle of the ride, but clipping in became easier, shifting became unproblematic, and simply put, I was proud of myself.
I was proud that I didn’t eat it.
I was proud that I was about to ride two hours and fifteen minutes on my first ride.
I was proud that I faced my fears.
With that, I’m already looking forward to my next ride and growing my cycling skills.
Have you ever been so afraid of something it changed who you were? How did you face it? How did it go?